Lots of conversation flying around about what Social CRM is, and what it isn’t. If you use Twitter and/or friend feed, I encourage you to join the conversation at #scrm.

Business and Sales have always been about relationships. People buy from people they like and from people who provide compelling value propositions for their problems.

These principles are timeless, well documented, and well proven.

Technology over the recent course of history, has provided the tools to enable this process to happen more quickly in a more efficient manner. Traditional CRM enables organizations to understand their customer bases better, and provides the backend framework to capture, organize, analyze customer data, and also provides the tools necessary for customer facing individuals to do their job more efficiently and effectively so that the customer experience is exceptional.

Social Media has birthed a new medium for traditional conversations to take place. The fundamentals are still the same. Customers will still buy from people they like and from people who provide compelling value propositions for their problems.

What is different is that an individual in Madrid can have a question pop into their head, and 2 minutes later can have an answer or be engaged with a total stranger in San Diego via the medium of Social Media.

Social Media is simply the next evolution of global internet communications. User Groups, Message Boards, Email have all been the precursors. Social media has just extended the reach and the increased the speed by which these communications happen.

Social CRM is the method of organizing, managing, and analyzing these conversations and interactions executed across the social networking landscape.  In my experience, these interactions are many times a precursor or a sample of what has previously been managed and tracked in traditional CRM systems. My Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook interactions sometimes morph into a conversation that justifies an entry into my traditional CRM system, whereby phone calls, activities, meetings, and opportunities are tracked. Social Media Interactions are “Real Interactions Lite”

They are not mutually exclusive, and Social CRM is not the answer for failed Traditional CRM. They are both blends of process, strategy, and supporting technology that enable us to collectively understand and meet the needs of our customers.  Social Media and Social CRM simply provide another component by which to understand, engage, and interact with our customers, partners, and prospects better.

  • obscureco

    The example you cite, Brian, introduces the last limitation to a real-time social-media driven global experience: time zones. As fast as we might want to act on things, the nature of the globe means that waiting a few hours or a day (gasp!) might be the best approach since it would allow input from every possible useful contact that might reach us. How you flatten the Earth is a question that I have no answers to…

  • brianvellmure

    Interesting response and I think in many ways you are right. However, I see duplicating availability and response for companies across timezones is not an impossible problem to address. Though perhaps, sleep deprivation will develop as a problem as individuals and entrepreneurs strive to be “always available” now that they have the capability to do so.

  • http://www.robs.me Robert Schneider

    Great feedback. The time zone issue does pose a problem. But I hear that Google is working on a way to make it the same time everywhere in the world at once. :)

    Social CRM technologies shouldn’t just seek to TRACK all the conversation. Rather they need to help facilitate the dialog that is already happening–but in a better and more intelligent way.

    If I Twitter a question to the cosmos, can’t a system intelligently deliver back to me relevant information based upon what other people have recently said? Then marketers can simply insert themselves into the dialog as a helpful resource instead of just a salesman.